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Polyethylene Orthopedic Implants Developed by Celanese Can Help People Stay Active & Healthy

Today, people are living and remaining active longer than ever, and they often want to keep enjoying active hobbies and exercise into their 70s and 80s, and beyond.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 7 million Americans are living with an artificial knee or hip today, and that number is expected to increase. Joint replacement surgery is done primarily to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis and to treat fractures, with the goal of enabling patients to resume their normal activities with less pain and stiffness and enjoy a higher quality of life.

Each year, about 3 million joint replacement procedures are performed globally, the majority of which incorporate ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) as the articulating bearing surface to cushion prosthetic parts in hips, knees and other joints.

GUR® ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, developed by Celanese, is a premium grade material that is often a choice in orthopedic implants for artificial hips, knees and other large joints for more than 40 years.

UHMWPE is a bio-compatible, chemically inert, strong, tough polymer with good load bearing resistance. It is self-lubricating, mimicking the natural lubricity between the cartilage and the joint. With a significantly higher molecular weight than standard polyethylene, UHMWPE exhibits high performing impact strength for energy absorption and excellent abrasion/wear resistance, enabling artificial knees and hips to last longer, so seniors can continue participating in the activities that they enjoy.

Today, most implants are treated by modern irradiation techniques for sterilization and performance improvement. To further enhance safety of implants, Celanese technology innovations include Vitamin E (anti-oxidant) filled grades that help prevent oxidation and degradation in the mechanical properties of the implants.

The extensive clinical history of UHMWPE materials continues to expand beyond its original end use in orthopedics into new potential applications.

About the Author
American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council’s mission is to advocate for the people, policy, and products of chemistry that make the United States the global leader in innovation and manufacturing. To achieve this, we: Champion science-based policy solutions across all levels of government; Drive continuous performance improvement to protect employees and communities through Responsible Care®; Foster the development of sustainability practices throughout ACC member companies; and Communicate authentically with communities about challenges and solutions for a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of life. Our vision is a world made better by chemistry, where people live happier, healthier, and more prosperous lives, safely and sustainably—for generations to come.